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Obama Budget Proposes Modest Bump for English-Learner Programs

President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget blueprint would raise spending levels slightly for states and local districts to support instruction for English-language learners, after several years of declining funding that was further eroded by sequestration.

The proposed budget—unveiled by the president earlier today at an elementary school in Washington—asks for $723 million in spending on English-language acquisition programs. That's nearly the same amount in the federal spending measure proposed for fiscal 2014 by Congressional leaders in January.

As detailed by Alyson Klein, over at Politics K-12, the White House is asking for $68.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $1.3 billion over fiscal 2014. 

Title III—the provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that sets aside money for English-language acquisition—has seen decreases in funding levels in recent years, even as the number of English-learners in public schools has continued to grow.

Beyond Title III, the Education Department also touts the White House's proposed spending in other areas as beneficial to English-learners, including its new $300 million Race to the Top competition that focuses on high-needs students and closing the achievement gap.

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